Those who attended the 2019 Business Expo at the Jekyll Island Convention Center on Thursday had an opportunity to compatively shop for nearly every imaginable service or product in the Golden Isles.
In all, there were 83 businesses offering a wide variety of services and products including medical health care, banking, financial advising, dentists, bug exterminators, media and coffee.
The largest crowds were around the many restaurant stations serving enough food to satisfy any appetite.
Avery Barnard, owner of an Applebee’s restaurant, said his workers were serving oriental salad, wanton tacos and two types of alfredos. People sampling the food will ask if the food they are eating is on the menu and other questions.
“We try to make them aware we’re out here in the county,” he said. “We get customers later who say they’ve seen as as the Expo.”
Sam Thompson, owner of Sundance Tile and Stone, said he has had a display at the Expo the past three years.
Early on, he said many of the people stopping by his display were other vendors with displays at the event. In some instances, he said they were trying to sell him goods and products. And, he said he has done business with them in the past.
“It’s another opportunity to get exposure for the company,” he said. “We do a lot of networking.”
Danielle Lewis, an administrative assistant with the Brunswick-Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce, said the annual event is a way for the business community to network and for local residents to see the many services and products available in the region.
“People have an excuse to come here other than to network,” she said. “We get a lot of visitors on the island come here.”
Eric Croft, vice president of lending at Marshland Credit Union, said he has had a booth at the Business Expo every year since it was established. He remembers when only 20 to 25 businesses had booths, and most of them were banks.
“I’ve been doing this a long time. It’s really grown.” said Croft, who is also on the Chamber’s board of directors.
Croft said he keeps coming back because it’s generates business and it’s a fun event.
Nancy Dorn, owner of Local Brew Coffeemakers on St. Simons Island, was another merchant who was busy giving samples of the coffee her business sells. Her business is less than a year old and she said it was an opportunity to network and gain exposure for her business.
She said the feedback was positive and she believes it will help her business.
Bob Duckworth said he decided to attend the event for the second year in a row because of the wide variety of businesses represented.
“I came last year and enjoyed it,” he said. “I just wanted to see what they offered this year.”
Jimmie Durrence, owner of Pristine Water, said he has had a booth at the Expo in the past but didn’t have one this year. But he still wanted to check out the wide variety of products and services.
“It’s a chance to build a rapport with the business community,” he said. “I’ve done business with quite a few.”